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« the Nashville Music Council to go public today | Main | what we've been up to - extended absence edition »

June 30, 2010



Austin calls itself the "Live Music Capitol," and I can't name a single venue they have there. It's all small ball, small bars and clubs that have no impact beyond the border. That's partly why Nashville has been more effective than Austin. It sees its market as the world, not downtown. Sure, a lot of the national names once played in the Broadway bars. But that's not necessarily the pathway to stardom.

What makes Nashville work is the success factor. Nothing breeds success like success, and Nashville has had a lot of it over the last 60 years. It's nice to attract small niches of music that appeal to small groups of fans, but ultimately the thing that makes kids want to come here is that Garth and Reba did it here. There aren't any artists from bluegrass or Americana who could attract 13,000 fans to the Bridgestone arena just for autographs and a photo. That's what Nashville's all about. You don't get that in Austin.

Charles Alexander

I love Nashville very much. Can't imagine living anywhere else. But Austin has a far cooler image than Nashville. Maybe partly because of "Austin City Limits" & other factors like firebrands and individualistic icons in the music business who live there. But perception is reality.

If Nashville is gonna survive it needs to come out of it's "industry" herd town mentality. It needs to promote the fact that there is a very healthy creative community here. That music revolutionaries and the mainstream music business can co-exist and thrive here. That IMHO is our ace in the hole.

And for the record, I do believe that small to midsized venues that function as a farm team are lacking.

Paul Schatzkin

Gadfly ? Who? Me??? You're the second or third person to call me that this week. Do I need an image makeover? Probably too late for that...

So, umm... thanks for the shout-out there, Craig. But, actually, I did raise a prickly question, maybe I just managed to toss the bomb out with an un-lit fuse (yes, very atypical...).

Lately I've been thinking quite a bit about that "broadcast performance royalty" debate - and I think the broadcasters position is unconscionable. Nancy Shapiro's answer -- that "we'll leave it to the DC reps of our membership, ASCAP and BMI etal" -- was probably the right thing to say, but eventually the creative elements in Twangtown are going to have to take a unified position on that issue. And I feel strongly that the position should not be the one advocated the NAB (that it's a "tax" on broadcasters).

I also concur with Charles' comment above. As much as I find admirable and constructive in the Council's advocacy on behalf of Nashville, its emphasis on the big-ticket, high-profile aspect of the business is a tad "rear-view mirror." That's how it used to be. Hell, even Joe Galante, in his video clip, described the future that prospers as "cottage" industries (think 'Third Man').

The scale is changing. Like Charles, I am tempted to use quote marks every time I think or write about the music "industry."


As a broadcaster, let me suggest to Mr. Schatzkin that the music industry would make more money if it would work WITH the broadcasters (using the Warner deal with MTV as an example) instead of running to mommy in DC expecting them to destroy one industry in order to bail out another. Especially when the government has something to lose if broadcasters walk away.

In the six years since the RIAA has proposed the performance tax, it's seen its sales plummet by about 50%. The public doesn't want to pay for music. Why should broadcasters pay for something the public doesn't want?

The third thing to consider is that the majority of the music represented by NMC gets very little OTA airplay. Putting a royalty on it won't help. No airplay means it would get no royalty. The people who decide which music would live or die in terms of royalty are the very broadcasters MusicFirst is complaining about. Imagine how much payola will increase once airplay becomes a revenue source for the labels.

How 'bout that for being warm & fuzzy?

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